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Learn the basics of Zen meditation in less than five minutes.

Learn the basics of Zen meditation in less than five minutes. 

How to Meditate - Beginners Introduction to Zazen

Clear, step-by-step meditation instruction, as practiced at the Hazy Moon Zen Center of Los Angeles.

This video teaches you how to meditate as taught in the tradition of Zen Buddhism. These meditation techniques, known as Zazen, have been passed down generation after generation from the Shakyamuni Buddha.

Here is a transcript.

Hazy Moon Zen Center: Meditation Instruction 

"The Zazen I speak of is not learning meditation. It is the manifestation of ultimate reality." - Dogen 

At the Hazy Moon, we practice classical meditation as taught by the Shakyamuni Buddha and his successors, passed down from India to China, to Japan, to America. The form is simple and enduring.

To begin, you will need a quiet room, comfortable clothes, and a cushion.

Choosing Your Position.

Sit on the forward third of your cushion. The lower body will form a tripod - knees on the ground and the base supported with a cushion, bench or chair. Choose a position you can sustain for comfort and stability.

For the full lotus position, place your right foot on your left thigh, and your left foot against your right thigh.
The half lotus position places the right foot on the left thigh and the left foot on the floor against the right thigh.
In burmese, both feet are on the floor, tucked against each leg.

To sit in the seiza position, set the cushion up vertically. The shins lie on either side of the cushion.
A bench can also be used.

When sitting in a chair, place your feet flat on the ground, and sit towards the chair's edge to ensure an erect spine. 

Whatever position you choose, your upper body will be the same.

Place your hands in the cosmic mudra - right palm up against the lower belly. Left atop right, middle knuckles overlap. Thumb-tips lightly touch and form an oval. Use a supporting cushion if your hands fall low or pull your shoulders.

Finding Your Posture

Whatever position is right for you, begin by swaying side to side to center the spine. Elongate your spine by pushing up towards the ceiling then relax. Tip the pelvis forward slightly to encourage the natural curve of your back. Relax the belly and let it protrude.

Ears should be in line with the shoulders, shoulders over hips. Center the tip of the nose over the navel, and tuck the chin in slightly.

Eyes are open, lowered at a 45 degree angle in an unfocused and gentle gaze toward the floor. Look out a few feet in front of you. 

Have a relaxed but alert posture. Take time to set up your body correctly every time you sit.


Begin by paying attention to your breath. Let it move naturally, without effort. Count each exhale and inhale, as one and count from one to ten. 

Onnnnne, onnnnnnne. Twooooooo, twooooo. Threeee, threeeee.

Breathe from the lower belly, about two fingers width below your navel. Your breath may be shallow at first. It will deepen naturally with practice. 

Set an alarm for yourself for 10 minutes. You can experiment with longer times. 

It is best to sit every day. 

Count silently from one to ten, one to ten, one to ten. If you lose the count, resume where you left off or go back to one. When thoughts come up, don't engage with them and don't suppress them. Just return to the count.

You are now ready to begin. 

For information on introductory classes or to sign up for retreats visit

Wendy Mason is the Happiness Coach and author of a new novel, The Wolf Project.  Wendy is a life and career coach and writer. She is passionate about helping people find happiness at work and at home! She helps people reach their goals and aspirations, without sacrificing their home and personal life.  She believes coaching requires compassion, warmth and empathy. Wendy helps people reach their career goals and aspirations, without sacrificing their home and personal life. You can contact Wendy at and find out more at

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